When: 12 noon
Congruency sequence effects (CSEs) are robust context effects observed in many choice RT tasks that include both congruent and incongruent trials. The defining pattern is that interference effects are smaller when the previous trial is incongruent compared to when the previous trial is congruent. Grundy and Bialystok (2015), reported smaller CSEs for bilinguals compared to monolinguals in a flanker task and concluded that bilinguals are better than monolinguals at disengaging attention. In a reanalysis of published flanker and Simon data we show that these language-group differences do not replicate and point out that CSEs in standard interference tasks may result from bottom-up learning and memory effects or top-down cognitive-control effects. The present results are also consistent with many previous reports indicating that typical CSEs have comparable costs (slower responses when an incongruent trial is followed by a congruent one) and benefits (faster responses when an incongruent trial is followed by another incongruent trial). Thus, from a system perspective that is concerned with improving overall performance, small versus large CSEs are usually neither advantageous nor disadvantageous. Rather than being the “paragon” measure of conflict adaptation CSEs may have little to do with inhibitory-control ability, but something to do with making micro-adjustments in temporal preparation for the next trial.